Monday July 15th, 2024 1:50PM

Jordan Spieth is now an expert on what a 59 looks like in golf. He's watched it happen twice

By The Associated Press

When Cameron Young made a 10-foot par putt for 59 in the third round of the Travelers Championship, Jordan Spieth became a footnote in history as the only player to twice be in the same group as someone who broke 60.

Spieth also played alongside Justin Thomas in the 2017 Sony Open when he made a 15-foot eagle putt on his final hole for 59 in the opening round.

So which was the best round he personally witnessed?

He leaned toward a 60.

Remember, Spieth also was playing with Bryson DeChambeau in the second round of the 2021 BMW Championship at Caves Valley. DeChambeau hit 8-iron to 2 feet for eagle on the par-5 16th hole and needed only to birdie one of the last two holes.

He missed from 15 feet on No. 17 and from 6 feet on No. 18 and shot 60.

“I would say Bryson that day because it was a par 72,” Spieth said. “That might be the answer on those three rounds.”

He had deep appreciation for all three.

Young got off to a flier — two birdies, holing out for eagle from 142 yards, another birdie to reach 5 under through four holes on the par-70 TPC River Highlands. Key was a 30-foot putt on No. 9 and a 3-iron to 4 feet for eagle on the reachable par-4 15th. Conditions allowed for players to lift, clean and place, though Young hit only six fairways.

“I remember thinking both Cam and Justin were right in it at the beginning,” Spieth said.

Thomas holed out from eagle on the short par-4 10th at Waialae to start his round. He actually bogeyed the next hole but then had a 10-hole stretch of eight birdies, including five in a row around the turn.

What Spieth doesn't recall is that he hit the ball better than Thomas that day — Spieth's average proximity to the hole was 18 feet, compared with 25 feet for Thomas.

“There's definitely an argument to be for JT because he knew he needed eagle (on the final hole) and made a 15-foot slider,” Spieth said. “That's a little bit different. That was the most clutch of the three.”

DeChambeau wasn't clutch. He hit pitching wedge to 6 feet below the cup for 59 and missed. But so thorough was his performance that day that he never had more than two birdies in a row.

He was 9.913 shots better than the field average at Caves Valley, while Thomas was 9.249 better than the field at Waialae. Young was 7.845 shots better at TPC River Highlands.

Olympics won't include Ewing

Ally Ewing loves nothing more than to represent her country. Her only chance this year will be the Solheim Cup.

Ewing made bogey on the 16th hole and that wound up being a key moment that narrowly kept her out of the Olympics. Countries can have a maximum of four players provided they are among the top 15 in the women’s world ranking.

Ewing by one shot missed out on a tie for second in the KPMG Women’s PGA. She finished in a two-way tie for fifth and moved up to No. 16 in the world. A four-way tie for second would have meant moving to No. 14.

The Americans will have three players at the Paris Games with Nelly Korda, Lilia Vu and Rose Zhang.

Ewing, meanwhile, moved to No. 3 in the Solheim Cup standings for this year's matches.

Amy Yang won her first major on Sunday at Sahalee and moved to a career-high No. 5. That also gave South Korea three players in the Olympics, with Yang joining Jin Young Ko and Hyo Joo Kim. South Korea had four players the past two Olympics.

No country has four women for the first time since golf returned to the Olympic program in 2016.

Lydia Ko, Brooke Henderson and Leona Maguire are among 13 players who will be competing for the third straight time. Ko has won the silver medal (2016) and bronze (2020).

Senior Open to be more open

The U.S. Senior Open is making changes to become more open.

The USGA says next year’s championship at The Broadmoor in Colorado will have similar qualifying to the U.S. Open. Instead of one stage of qualifying over 33 sites, there will be 32 local qualifiers and 12 final qualifiers.

It also will reduce the number of full exemptions. Among the changes are PGA Tour Champions winners getting a one-year exemption instead of two- or three-year exemptions. The other three American senior majors will get five-year exemptions to the U.S. Senior Open.

Olympics or PGA Tour?

Mito Pereira of LIV Golf is going back to the Olympics because Cristobal del Solar of Chile wants to give himself his best chance at getting a PGA Tour card.

The International Golf Federation still has del Solar listed as part of the 60-man field for the Paris Olympics. It will not be finalized until July 9. However, Pereira told LIV Golf's website that del Solar has decided to skip the Olympics to try to move up the Korn Ferry Tour points list.

“He wanted to get to a certain number of points because obviously he’s fighting for his PGA Tour card,” Pereira said last week at LIV Golf Nashville. ”It’s not that one is more important than the other. Obviously trying to get to the PGA Tour is his main goal. He made that decision and I think it’s very smart to do it.”

Del Solar, who shot 57 in a Korn Ferry Tour event in Colombia earlier this year, is No. 16 on the points list with 11 tournaments remaining. The top 30 earn PGA Tour status for next year.

Del Solar was No. 195 in the world when Olympic qualifying ended. Pereira was No. 272, but he easily got Chile's second spot in the Olympics because he was more than 100 spots ahead of the player from the next available country.

Joaquin Niemann, also with LIV Golf, has the other spot for Chile.

Pereira, best known for losing a one-shot lead with a double bogey on the final hole of the 2022 PGA Championship, was part of a seven-man playoff for the bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympics. Niemann finished one shot out of the playoff, which was won by C.T. Pan of Taiwan.

“Three years waiting for that again,” Pereira said. “I'm really focused on playing my best to get the medal.”

Money matters

Scottie Scheffler has won or finished second in eight of his 15 starts on the PGA Tour this year. He is really cashing in at the $20 million signature events.

Scheffler played seven of the eight signature events, won four of them and earned $16.98 million. His season total, including wins at the Masters and The Players Championship, put him at $27,696,858 for the year.

Still to come is the British Open and two FedEx Cup playoff events. Meanwhile, his victory in the Travelers Championship made him the seventh player to cross $70 million in career earnings. Scheffler is in his fifth full season on the PGA Tour.

Divots

Front Office Sports reports that TMRW Sports, the company backed by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy that runs the TGL league, is valued at nearly $500 million in a Series A funding round announced Monday. The indoor, tech-drive TGL with six four-man teams doesn’t start until January. ... Harry Higgs has earned enough points on the Korn Ferry Tour to assure he will have a full PGA Tour card again next year. ... Florida State alumni had a big Sunday in PGA Tour-sanctioned events. John Pak won his first Korn Ferry Tour event, while recent graduate Frederik Kjettrup won in Canada on the PGA Tour Americas. The most famous former Seminole, five-time major champion Brooks Koepka, tied for 42nd against the 54-man field at LIV Golf.

Stat of the week

Scottie Scheffler has been bogey-free in the final round in three of his six victories this year.

Final word

“We do the best we can. Some days, golf feels so easy and feels so fun. Other days, it feels like I want to retire very soon.” — Amy Yang after winning her first major at age 34.

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AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf

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